Model Town Link Road anti-encroachment drive: Traders threaten hunger strike
LAHORE: The Model Town Link Road Association has threatened to go on a hunger strike in front of Punjab Assembly until the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general is removed Link Road market is allowed to reopen.
Talking to reporters at the Lahore Press Club on Monday, Raja Javed Riaz, the president of the association, said the LDA had not stopped the construction of commercial plazas when it started in 1996 because its officials had received “their right share”. He said now the plazas were near completion, the authority had started demanding building maps and commercialisation fees.
Mr Raja said the Model Town Link Road was developed in 1980 as a market. He said the Model Town Government Employees Cooperative Housing Society (GECHS) allotted half of the Link Road to shop owners and approved maps and received commercialisation fees. Ayub Sohail, a businessman, said they had paid commercialisation fees to the Model Town GECHS and were ready to pay it to the LDA as well.
He said they filed an application with the district nazim on December 11, 2003 showing their willingness to pay the commercialisation fees. He said the nazim told them to wait 15 days, but there was no response later either. Mr Sohail said they then met LDA Director General Ikhlaq Tarar, who said the matter could only be resolved by the nazim, whereas the nazim said the matter falls within the domain of the LDA director general.
Mr Sohail said the nazim asked the association on January 1 to move the LDA afresh, but they were ignored again.
He said the Lahore High Court had directed the LDA and the Model Town GECHS to resolve the Link Road dispute, but to no avail. He claimed that the LDA would fail in showing demand notices issued for the collection of commercialisation fees.
Mr Sohail said LDA officials and a large number of policemen raided their plazas and razed billboards worth millions of rupees. He said thousands of people would become jobless because of this campaign. The association demanded the immediate removal of the LDA director general. They also demanded the demolition of barriers built in the Link Road market. They invited the LDA officials for talks on the issue of commercialisation fee. However, District Naib Nazim Farooq Amjad Mir said the LDA had issued several notices for commercialisation fees before launching the drive against the Link Road businessmen, who did not responded to these notices.